Project: Bab Tebbaneh School for Working Children and for Women

Client: The Rene Moawad Foundation

Architect: Hashim Sarkis A.L.U.D.— Hashim Sarkis (principal); Mason White, Joaquin Perez-Goicochea, Nasser Abulhasan, Gulcin Becerik, Robert Karam, Christopher White (project team and renderings)

Consultants: Mohamed Chahine, Michel Mouawad (structural designers)

A plot in the center of a dense residential block in the impoverished Bab Tebbaneh neighborhood of North Tripoli, Lebanon. Visually isolated from the street, the site is exposed to the buildings on the perimeter of the block, including housing and auto-repair shops.

The school was conceived as a place to teach language and mathematics to working children and vocational skills to adult women.

The design features six independent classrooms, each of which has an adjacent meeting room, library, and teacher's office, all organized around an open-air central courtyard. The architect intends the modular, cloistered layout to impart a sense of order in a chaotic urban environment.

Hooded wind-catching towers sprout from the small meeting rooms adjacent to each classroom, making the school visible to pedestrians on the street. The towers draw light and air into the classrooms from above the ground level, minimizing the amount of smoke and fumes that can enter from the surrounding auto-body shops, where many of the young students work.

The Architect

Firm: Hashim Sarkis A.L.U.D., Beirut, and Cambridge, Mass.

Principal: Hashim Sarkis

Employees: More than 10

Year Founded: 1998

Recent Work: Wareham Street Loft, Cambridge; Corniche Area Urban Design Guidelines, Doha, Qatar